Online commenters have backed a woman who said in a now-viral post that she recently made her 17-year-old niece feel “like a monster.”
Posting in Reddit’s “Am I The A**hole” (AITA) forum under the username u/AgreeableAffect7090, the woman said she lost her 15-year-old daughter last year, and her niece compared this loss with the death of her dog . In response, u/AgreeableAffect7090 “screamed” at her niece. The post has garnered over 8,600 upvotes and hundreds of comments slamming the teenager’s insensitivity.
Losing a Child
Deborah Carr, Ph.D., chair of the sociology department at Boston University, told Fatherly that many consider the death of a child to be “the single worst stressor a person can go through.”
“Parents and fathers specifically feel responsible for the child’s well-being. So when they lose a child, they’re not just losing a person they loved. They’re also losing the years of promise they had looked forward to,” Carr said .
Several experts also told the publication that the grievance associated with losing a child is often “more intense” than “classic grievance.”
“The first year after losing a younger child, a parent is at an increased risk for suicide and everything from major depression to complicated grievance,” Dr. Gail Saltz, a psychiatrist at the New York Presbyterian Hospital Weill-Cornell School of Medicine, told Fatherly.
Saltz explained that “complicated grievance” differs from “normal grievance” in that “there are more intense symptoms, alternating with seemingly no symptoms—a numbness—which potentially impairs their ability to function.”
Carr added that some parents “learn to live with the loss,” whereas others “struggle to find meaning in life.”
In her post, u/AgreeableAffect7090 said her 15-year-old daughter died in a car accident last year, and though she’s in therapy, she can’t bring herself to go into her daughter’s room.
“I have not been able to clean her room or go in it, so it’s the same as it was when she was alive,” she said. “My husband doesn’t go in there either, and we keep the door closed.”
So when their niece came to visit last week, u/AgreeableAffect7090 and her husband made the teenager a bed on the couch.
“She asked why she couldn’t sleep in ‘the guest room,’ and I told her we don’t have one,” u/AgreeableAffect7090 wrote. “[My] niece said that she thought our daughter’s room was the guest room now. I explained that we hadn’t been able to change anything yet, and she rolled her eyes and said it was a year ago, and we [needed] to move on.”
From there, things only got worse.
“When I started crying, she tried to apologize and, I think in an attempt to relate, said she had taken the loss of her dog very hard but got over it within a year, and I screamed that my child wasn’t a dog ,” u/AgreeableAffect7090 said.
Redditor u/AgreeableAffect7090’s husband sent their niece home, and her sister later accused her of being unreasonable.
“[She said] I made [my] niece ‘feel like a monster,'” u/AgreeableAffect7090 concluded. “AITA?”
Redditors said u/AgreeableAffect7090’s reaction was perfectly reasonable and slammed her niece’s insensitivity.
“NTA [not the a**hole]. She needed to learn one way or another that it is never okay to equate the loss of a child with the loss of a pet,” u/Sweeper1985 said. “Your reaction was from grief, you can’t really be blamed.”
“She feels like a monster because she behaved like a monster. For a 17-year-old to be so cruel and callous, she needs to face some consequences,” u/nottheblackhat wrote.
Redditor u/Bl0ndeFox added: “NTA. A 17-year-old should know better…you’re still grieving, and she was being rude and insensitive. This may sound mean, but maybe your niece needed to have this feeling of ‘being a monster’ to wake up a little.”
Newsweek reached out to u/AgreeableAffect7090 for comment.
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